Adobe Photoshop CS comes with an amazing asortment of tools to help you edit your images. The latest version includes a wide range of features to make things easier, but how can you get the most out of it? In this first part of Chapter 5 from Mordy Golding's Adobe Creative Suite, (Sams, ISBN: 0672325918), you'll learn how to use masks, layers, filters, feathers, and more.
Using Adobe Photoshop CS, Part 1 - Modifying Selections (Page 8 of 15 )
There are several ways you can modify a selection after it's created. One of the most useful is by using the Select, Inverse command or pressing (Command-Shift-I) [Ctrl+Shift+I], which basically selects whatever you don't have selected (and deselects everything that was selected). Sometimes it's easier to select the one part of an image that you don't want, and then inverse your selection (see Figure 5.34). You can also transform your selection. These transformations that you make (by choosing Select, Transform Selection) apply only to the selection itself and not the pixels inside them. For example, you might use the Rectangular Marquee tool to create a square selection, and then use the Transform Selection command to rotate the square (see Figure 5.35) to effectively get a diamond-shaped selection.
Figure 5.33 Defining a new tool preset.
Figure 5.34 Choosing to inverse your selection.
Figure 5.35 Transforming a selection.
Under the Select, Modify submenu, there are four additional ways you can adjust your selection. All of them are useful and it would be a good idea to experiment with them to fully understand what each one does. In each of these cases, you'll lose your original selection, so you may want to save it before you modify the selection. These are the additional options:
Border-Use the Select, Modify, Border command to specify a pixel width for just the edge of your selection (see Figure 5.36), similar to adding a stroke. This command yields a round-cornered selection, which is not appropriate in all cases.
Figure 5.36 A selection with the Border modification applied to it.
Smooth-Not everyone can draw with a mouse as well as they can with a pencil (myself included), so when you're creating selections with the Lasso tools, it's nice to know that you can smooth out your selections by choosing Select, Modify, Smooth. This is also useful when you're making selections with the Magic Wand tool, because it can sometimes create selections with jagged or uneven edges.
Expand-At times you will want to enlarge or expand your selection by a specific number of pixels. One such example is if you want to have a border or background around the edges of text. Although you can instead scale your selections using the Transform Selection command I mentioned earlier, many times simply scaling your selection won't work (especially with odd-shaped selections).
Contract-There will be times when, rather than expanding your selections, you'll want to contract them. You can do so by choosing Select, Modify, Contract and then specifying the number of pixels you want your selection to shrink.
Saving and Loading Selections
A quick selection is easy enough to make, but many times getting just the perfect selection for your needs can take quite a bit of time (and a double dosage of patience). The last thing you want in that case is to accidentally click somewhere and lose your selection. Or you may want to continue to make adjustments to that selection later. You can save your selections so that you can retrieve them later by choosing Select, Save Selection (see Figure 5.37). It's best to give your selections a descriptive name; otherwise, if you have several of them, it may be difficult to find the right one when you want to load one.
Tip -If you want to access the last selection you made, choose Select, Reselect.
In general, it's a good idea to name things carefully, because one day you'll have to edit the file and you'll go crazy trying to remember what you named it. You also never know who else will be working with your file (a co-worker, prepress operator, or client, for example), so naming things that will help people quickly find what they are looking for is important.
When you have selections already saved in a file, you can either continue to save new selections, or add to or modify existing selections (see Figure 5.38). You'll probably get a much better understanding about how selections work when you learn what channels are. Oh, look at that-the next paragraph is about channels!
Figure 5.37 Choosing to save your selection.
Figure 5.38 Choosing to modify an existing selection.